Husband of 'queen' fights to get kids back

News-Press/July 31, 2002
By Mike Hoyem

Phillip Bradshaw, the husband of Richelle "Queen Shahmia" Bradshaw, went before a judge Tuesday, saying he wants his three children back.

Lee Circuit Judge Isaac Anderson Jr. didn't rule on the request. He conducted what's known as a dependency review and continued the case.

The Bradshaws' children and five others were taken into the custody of the state Department of Children & Families after Richelle Bradshaw, 36, and her cult were arrested in south Fort Myers in January 2000 in a series of strong-arm robberies.

Police said Richelle Bradshaw, who called herself the daughter of God, lived a life of luxury - staying in high-class motels - while her "manservants" committed robberies to support the clan.

Richelle Bradshaw is serving a 25-year sentence for her crimes. Two followers escaped convictions after being declared insane. A third, who testified against Richelle Bradshaw, was sentenced to two years in prison.

Phillip Bradshaw, 41, who also goes by the name "Imanuel," was the only adult member of the group not charged with a crime.

Twentieth Judicial Circuit spokesman Ken Kellum said the hearing Anderson held was routine.

Kellum said when the state takes away a child, it normally sets up a "parenting plan" that tells the parent or parents what must be done to regain custody.

At a dependency hearing, the parent tries to show that he or she has met the state's expectations.

"It's not a hearing to see if you're going to get your kids back," Kellum said. "He wants his kids back. ... They're reviewing his progress."

After Richelle Bradshaw was convicted, a Lee Circuit judge declared her unfit to be a mother and stripped her of her parental rights.

The Second District Court of Appeal reversed that ruling, saying the state failed to prove her unfit.

The status of that case couldn't be determined Tuesday, nor could the date of Phillip Bradshaw's next hearing. Child custody is a private matter and records of custody cases are not public.

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